25 Feb 2012

Opening a bank account

The normal bank account in Germany is called a Girokonto. There are several types, according to the banks you look at. Normally, if you open an account at bank with physical point of sales, there will be fees for the account. Those fees can go up to 5-10 Euro per month! Naturally, to an East-European like me this sounds crazy: as a bank client, they should be happy to have me!

Exception for the fees: students and people who deposit more than 1000-1200 Euro per month in the account. You can just receive your salary in this account and thus avoid those stupid fees.

How to open it?
You will definitely need your Meldebescheinigung for this plus a copy of your ID document. If you already have a job offer, it will help to also bring your work contract with you to show them that you are reliable.

With all those documents, just go to the closest bank and ask them for a Girokonto. Before selecting a bank, consider the following: does the bank have an ATM near your place and near your working place? If you withdraw cash from another bank or banking group, there are fees up to 10 Euro per withdrawal. The most widespread banks are Sparkasse, Postbank, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

I would not recommend any of them! Try to get an account at DKB (Deutsche Kredit Bank). There are no fees whatsoever and you get a free VISA debit-credit card with which you can withdraw cash anywhere in the world (incl. Germany) for free! They also give you interest on both the normal Girokonto and on the VISA amount that you have! No other bank will give you interest rates on a Girokonto.

They are not easy though: I tried 3 times until they accepted me. In the end I managed to sneak in through the Lufthansa Miles and More programme

Internet Banking
This is the awesome feature that eventually will close the physical banks. Almost every bank in Germany offers it free of charge. You can pay your invoices (Rechnungen) and transfer money in every EU country without paying a cent! Make sure you register for this at your bank of choice.
For every transaction you will need to use a TAN number for increased security. A list of 100 TAN numbers will arrive separately from your username and password. Some banks like Postbank also offer mobile TAN: you get this special number on you mobile phone. Unfortunately, DKB does not yet offer this.

Next article will be about the best possibility to save your money, the Tagesgeldkonto!

Questions? Just ask below

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